In the melting pot that is America, couples from all different cultures are coming together to get married. Devorah and Ash beautifully blended their families’ Jewish and Hindu traditions for a fantastic multi-day celebration, and my team of photographers was honored to be there to capture it all.
Jenn Alton was there with me for the Pithi, Grah Shanti, Sangeet, and the wedding day, and Shawn Black was there as an additional second shooter on the wedding day to ensure we were covered from every angle. During the Pithi ceremony a golden paste made of chick pea flour, turmeric, rose water and other ingredients was applied to Ash’s face, arms and legs to cleanse and purify him before the wedding ceremony. Ashish’s family and friends had a great deal of fun covering him in Pithi from head to toe. Devorah’s sister even got in on it. The Grah Shanti is a brief ceremony where Ganesh is invited to remove all obstacles from the couple and to bring them happiness and prosperity. As a photographer, these ceremonies are so incredible to capture, what with all the spectacular pageantry, details, and bright colors. Later that evening it was time for the Sangeet. Members of the bridal party honored the couple by performing songs and dances as well as giving speeches.
The next day Devorah had a stunning blush colored wedding dress from Monique Lhuillier. The style name of the dress, Candy, was quite apropos as Devorah was as sweet as yummy cotton candy that day. I loved how the dress lit up when I hung it on a unique light fixture I found during the pre-wedding site visit at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. It made me think of Katniss’ stunning “girl on fire” dress from the Hunger Games. During that visit, coordinator extraordinaire Sarah Traub pointed out many fantastic elements of the hotel and offered to help in any way necessary. She was beyond amazing! Working with her was like a dream. She even helped carry Devorah’s train while we went across the street for the big reveal. It was a wonderful private moment, they had the whole park to themselves. When Ash turned around to see Devorah it was like time stopped. Before we knew it though it was time for him to go back for the Baraat.
Typically the groom rides in on a white horse, but Ash modernized it a bit and made his grand entrance from a giant white Escalade limo accompanied by a song from fellow Chi-town native Kanye West. Boston Sound and Light led the way down the closed off city streets with an SUV cranking out festive tunes and calling out moves for Dandiya Raas dancing. Meanwhile Devorah looked on through a window with glee. Finally the procession ended up back at the hotel and her family was there to receive Ash with open arms. From there the two went on to sign their ketubah. Once all the pre-wedding formalities were finished it was time for the big ceremony.
Devorah and Ash elected to have both a rabbi and a priest there to perform a blend of religious traditions and rites. The ceremony was performed under a beautiful structure of birch wood and tulle created by florist Dutch Bloemen Winkel that doubled as both a Chuppah and a Mandap. Apparently the number 7 isn’t just big in Vegas, it’s big in Jewish and Hindu weddings as well. The ceremony included the Jewish tradition of bestowing 7 blessings on the couple, the Hindu tradition of taking 7 sacred steps, and the shared tradition of the bride and groom walking 7 circles under the Chuppah/Mandap. My favorite element of the ceremony was the Granthi Bandhanam. Ash’s sister tied the ends of Devorah and Ash’s scarves in a knot, signifying the union of their souls. Not too surprisingly, the Granthi Bandhanam is where we get the phrase “tying the knot” from.
After Ash and Devorah “tied the knot” it was time for a few more photos and then some serious partying. Ash gave me his very best impression of James Bond doing a dip while in front of the Renaissance’s signature glowing orange hallway, while all 6’1″ of Shawn crouched down behind them with a flash to give nice back lighting, and Jenn focused a flash on them from the front while I took the shots. The MCs from Boston Sound and Light kept the party going well into the night. Ash’s parents got to experience the excitement of the horah and Devorah’s family became new found fans of bangra dancing. The night was capped off perfectly for me with a super fun dance with Devorah, my good friend Elena from Luxury Wedding Films, Jenn, and Shawn. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the night.